By Haley Doran and Emma McQuade
In a mission to help students find their goodness, Yoga Farm, a wellness center in Lansing, N.Y. offers educational classes and workshops to students seeking courses in yoga and meditation.
Christopher Grant and Daniela Hess, co-directors of Yoga Farm, founded the wellness center in the spring of 2015 after listening to the call of Spirit.
“For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a part of a group of people who were living and learning together – diving into some of the deeper truths about what it means to be a human – seeking something beyond,” said Grant. “I always had a sense that there was something beyond.”
Yoga Farm is a welcome environment where students can follow three different approaches to find their goodness. The center offers group yoga: private instruction, including yoga, meditation and coaching: and courses centered on a theme.
“People come here to remember their goodness and their lightness – lightness is playful,” said Hess. “I help people fall in love with themselves, like I mean really fall in love with themselves.”
In addition to their regular classes and workshops, Yoga Farm hosts the Sacred Sunday Community event every Sunday, open to all community members. This event allows community members the opportunity to have a deeply personal experience with body, mind and Spirit. Sacred Sunday is a three-part event, but the community can come at the beginning of each hour. The first hour consists of prayers and practices called Ho’oponopono, then gentle community yoga and the finally a meditation.
“People who come every week get a completely different experience and it’s like church without the ‘churchyness,’” said Hess. “It’s beautiful – it’s this sacred morning for anybody regardless of your denomination or affiliation, religions – it doesn’t matter. We’re really connecting with the thread that weaves itself through everyone and it’s our goodness and our grace.”
Hess said the practice of yoga and meditation is often seen as serious to Western people. She believes Yoga Farm guides students through the true nature of Spirit.
“It’s not always serious here, people something have it that the spiritual path has to be very quiet, a lot of bowing and ‘Namaste’ – there is that,” said Hess. “But the nature of Spirit is playful and that’s something here in the West that I see people have forgotten.”
Penne Barresi, a student at Yoga Farm, says that yoga can be useful in everyday life.
“For me it’s being in the present and it not only works my body physically, it wakes my body up emotionally and spiritually and allows me to combine those things and stay present,” said Barresi. “When I’m sitting in traffic, trying to get some place and I can take a breath, reconnect my breath and be OK.”
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